The Seattle Kraken lost their home game in the Climate Pledge Arena on Wednesday evening 2:3 against the Calgary Flames, but the German Kraken goalkeeper stood out Phillip Grubauer out. The Rosenheimer convinced with 41 saves and thus underlined his rising form curve.
Seattle lost the lead and was overtaken by Calgary
With this exit, the Flames (17-13-7) overtook the Kraken (18-11-4) in the table. Tyler Toffoli scored Calgary in the lead (7th), Seattle then turned the game around thanks to goals from Ryan Donato (19.) and Jamie Oleksiak (22nd) just before and just after the first break. By a powerplay goal by Nazem Kadri (30th) and the winning goal Jonathan Huberdeau (53.) At the end of the day, however, the Flames were allowed to celebrate.
“We were playing against a team that gets a lot of shots on goal, so we didn’t allow much in the first two periods,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol. “It got a bit too much in the third period. When I look at the possibilities, we created a lot of good chances in 5v5, especially in the first half of the game. In the third half we allowed a bit too much again, because we spent too much time in the defensive zone. So I don’t care about the number of shots because every team plays differently and this team just shoots from all positions.”
Calgary had a shooting advantage of 44-31 (14-14 in the first period, 15-11 in the second period, 15-6 in the third period).
“I think the guys have worked hard,” said Seattle defenseman Oleksiak. “Maybe we just didn’t find each other in a few plays and couldn’t score more goals. We just have to learn from that, do our video analysis and be better in the next game.”
Video: [email protected]: Grubauer shines in defeat
Strong performance by Phillip Grubauer
Grubauer stopped 41 of 44 shots that evening and had a catch rate of 93.2 percent. For the German goalkeeper it was already the third game with more than 30 saves in the current season, all made in December by the way. Particularly bitter: In none of these strong performances was he allowed to celebrate a win (36 saves in a 1: 4 with the Washington Capitals on December 9, 2022; 39 saves in a 2: 3 with the Carolina Hurricanes on December 15, 2022).
It has not been an easy season for Grubauer so far (3-5-1, 3.3 goals conceded per game, 88.2 percent catch rate), but also due to a longer mandatory break: On October 21, 2022, of all places, he had joined his former team Colorado Avalanche was injured and was out for a little over a month as a result. After missing 13 games, the 31-year-old made his comeback on November 25 and made regular changes from then on Martin Jones between the posts. Since his return, Grubauer has had eight starts with three wins, a 3.06 goals-against average and a 90 percent average save percentage. The shape curve is clearly pointing upwards. It wouldn’t be Grubauer’s first NHL season in his career, as he continues to improve towards the end of the season.
Close playoff race in the west – German duel with Draisaitl
His strong performance against the Flames should also make the Kraken sit up and take notice, after all Seattle is looking for more consistency in the tight race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the west: Seattle has gained nine points from the last ten games (4-5-1) and fell in the Pacific Division down in fourth place but holds the first wildcard spot in the Western Conference. In their second year, they remain on course for the first playoff qualification in franchise history.
However, Seattle (18-11-4) cannot rest, because with the Avalanche (19-12-2) and the Edmonton Oilers (19-15-2) two pursuers have the same number of points and are therefore directly behind. A success on Friday in a direct duel with the Oilers would be all the more important, with the two superstars at the end of the year Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl come to the Emerald City. So there could also be a top-class German duel between Grubauer and Draisaitl.